When Jesus hung on the cross some two thousand years ago, he suffered one of the most brutal deaths devised by mankind. Hanging on a cross suffocates a person. The only way to breath is to push up using limbs nailed into the wood of the cross, which would be excruciatingly painful. There would be little talking, because of the lack of air and the pain of it all.
This is probably why Jesus spoke in short sentences while dying. Each thing he said was important to say. It was also succinct.
Of all the things he said, perhaps one of the most perplexing things is "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" What does this mean? Was there some cosmic rift in the Trinity? How does the Father forsake the Son, and remain a Trinity? These are difficult theological questions.
But perhaps it was not meant to be a theological statement. When we examine Scripture we find something very interesting in Psalm 22. Jesus was quoting Scripture - and not just any Scripture. He was quoting a passage that describes what he went through on the cross.
It meant his Father was not going to save him.
It meant he would find no rest.
Yet he praises his Father as Holy and worthy of Trust.
It meant he was despised by men.
It meant he was mocked by men
Yet he recognizes his Father's care for him.
He sees the trouble all around him, and knows there will be no rescue. He will be destroyed, poured out. His Father lays him in the dust of death.
It is a remarkable statement about his role in this pivotal moment of all human history.
He is the one who saves us, to give us rest, to the glory of God.
He suffered our scorn, that he might raise us up.
His death conquers death itself, giving us new life.
In one small statement on the cross, as he struggled to breath, let alone speak, Jesus Christ gives us the gospel. He calls to you and me. Come, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
He appeals again to the Lord to come to his aid.
He promises to proclaim the glory of God
He calls us to do the same.
Then he turns his thoughts to us. God has not despised our affliction. God hears. We become the congregation who praises God for his rescue. The ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and every family will worship the Lord!
The Lord receives the praise of kingship and the rule of all nations. Those who see it will proclaim the glory of the Lord to coming generations, and to those who have not yet been born. That's us! That's our Fathers and Mothers and our own children! We proclaim His righteousness to the coming generations.
He has done it!
This is a messianic gospel Psalm. It describes the sacrifice of Christ and the result of the sacrifice.
Descendant of Adam, you have inherited the sin of your fathers. You have sinned yourself. There is no rescue for you apart from the sacrifice of Christ. Each of us was without hope, headed only to the just judgement of a Holy God.
Jesus died on the cross to take that punishment for you and me. That was always his intent. He predicted it in His Holy Word, and as he was fulfilling this gospel prophecy, he quoted it so there would be no mistake.
He was forsaken, that we might live.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 "He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!"
9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet--
17 I can count all my bones-- they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
(Psa 22:1-31 ESV)